Asbestos Killed Horticulturalist

Unknown Asbestos Exposure


Asbestos killed horticulturalist Pamela Schwerdt, a coroner has ruled, but it is not known how she came to be exposed to it, the Gloucester Citizen newspaper has reported.

Miss Schwerdt was 78 years old when she died of lung cancer caused by exposure to the deadly mineral, according to the paper.

A Gloucester inquest into her death was told that the only time she could have came into contact with asbestos was when she worked stoking boilers for greenhouses at Waterperry Horticultural School, Oxford, back in the 1950s. No other evidence of exposure exists.

Miss Schwerdt's sister Rosemary Booth said in a statement that she remembers her sister working with boilers at the school when she worked there in 1948-57. Waterperry school shut in 1971 and its heated greenhouses were taken away. The company which now operates on the site said it has no records from that period, the inquest heard.

Alan Crickmore, the coroner, said he is satisfied asbestos exposure caused Miss Schwerdt's death but how she was exposed to it remains a mystery.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Adrian Budgen from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Pamela Schwerdt sadly died of malignant mesothelioma, which is almost invariably caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

"It is thought she was exposed to the deadly dust when she was required to stoke the greenhouse boilers where she worked.

"At that time, the boilers would have been lagged with asbestos (for insulation purposes) and the lagging may well have been in a poor state of repair, thus releasing amosite fibres into the air for Miss Schwerdt to breathe in.

"A verdict of industrial disease is most commonly given in mesothelioma cancer cases."

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